Serial killers are individuals who kill 3 or more people over time often with no apparent reason but follows a predictable behavior pattern. Serial killers have been documented for as long as law enforcement has been documenting these types of crimes. This guide will explore different types of serial killers, what their motives would be and who the most prolific serial killers in the United States have been.
Serial killers in the United States have long instilled fear into the American people and for good reason. Serial killers and their acts are extremely frighting.
Serial killer classification and types
There has been a heavy study on the field of what makes someone a serial murderer and this has resulted in two different ways to classify a serial killer.
- Motive based or Holmes typology, this was for Ronald M. and Stephen T. Holmes. Authors of textbooks on violent crime and serial murder.
- Organization and social patters
According to Holmes typology, a serial killer can either be process-focused or act-focused. If someone is act-focused they kill quickly, whereas someone who is process-focused will kill slowly. The act-focused killer is simply about the act itself. Holes explains that within these groups you have two different types of serial killers.
The visionary and missionary. Some that are visionary hear or have visions telling them to do said act. Missionary murders because he or she believes they need to get rid of a certain group of people.
H.H. Holmes is considered by some to be the United States’ first serial killer who was convicted of killing nine people. However, he confessed to 27 murders in the late 1800s. He started killing guests at the “Castle” hotel that opened up in 1893 in Chicago. After his conviction in 1896, he was hanged.
Who is considered to be the worst serial killer in history
Every serial killer has done terrible things, however, some are worst then others. Samuel Little is one of those serial killers that have killed more people than any other known serial killer in the United States.
The FBI has recently been able to verify at least 50 murders that little has committed which would be more killing ten Ted Bundy, the Green River Killer, and John Wayne Gacy. the LA Police department dubbed him the “The Choke-and-Stroke Killer” for his sexually motivated crimes.
Female serial killers
While men make up almost 90 percent of the entire world of homicides. With that said it is also extremely rare to find a female serial killer. However, females do make up a very small percentage of known serial killers. The below list are some of the most deadly female serial killers.
Killed seven men in Flordia between 1989 and 1990. Executed on October 9, 2002
Born: February 29, 1956
Died: October 9, 2002
She killed her husband, her son and her boyfriend. She is also believed to have killed more men. She was executed in Florida and was the third woman to be executed in the U.S since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976
Born: April 4, 1943, Quanah, Texas
Died: March 30, 1998, Starke, Florida
Four murders and attempted murder on two others. Convicted in 1998 and is serving a life sentence in Texas
Born: November 13, 1967
Killed 11 people. Including her four husbands, her two children, mother-in-law- her and her own mother. She was given life in prison and died in 1965
Born: November 4, 1905
Died: June 2, 1965
Charged with 9 murders and would kill mentally disabled boarders that would stay in her boarding house in California. She died in prison in 2011
Born: January 9, 1929
Died: March 27, 2011
Victims: 9- 15
Difference between mass, spree, and serial killers
As stated above a serial killer is someone who kills 3 or more people over a longer time period. A spree killer is someone who kills two or more people in a short period of time within multiple locations with almost no break from one killing to another.
Another distinct difference is that unlike a serial killer who goes back to a normal life for a period of time of weeks, months or even years before killing again. The spree killer does not. Typically the maximum amount of time a spree killer goes without killing is seven days.
The most prolific male serial killers in America
Men make up most of America serial killers and the ones below are some of the most violent and prolific serial killers in the history of America.
Samuel Little: The most prolific serial killer in United States history
Samuel little, according to the FBI is now the most prolific serial killer in United States history. Little has not confessed to 93 murders and the FBI believes that his confessions are all credible. Samuel little admitted to strangling women across the United States for decades.
Born: June 7, 1940
Victims: 8 Convicted; 61 linked; 93+ claimed
Ted Robert Bundy was a serial killer who would kidnap, rape and murder woman and young girls in the 1970s.
Born: November 24, 1946
Died: January 24, 1989
Victims: 30 confessed
Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer from 1978 to 1991. He was a sex offender who raped and murdered 17 men and boys.
Born: May 21, 1960
Died: November 28, 1994
John Wayne Gacy
John Wayne Gacy was known to rape, torture, and murder young men and boys from 1972 to 1978. He murdered at least 33 people.
Born: March 17, 1942
Died: May 10, 1994
Victims: 33 plus
Dennis Rader or as some know him as the BTK Strangler. Rader killed 10 victims from 1974 and 1991.
Born: March 9, 1945
Ricardo Leyva Munoz Ramirez or better known as Richard Ramirez was a serial killer who was also a rapist and burglar from San Francisco
Born: February 29, 1960
Died: June 7, 2013
Gary Ridgway was convicted of 49 separate murders and has confessed to 71. He is also known as the Green River Killer.
Born: February 18, 1949
Victims: Convicted of 49